Tested and approved: Swisscom test lab relies on multi-fibre technology
Failure-safe and future-proof network cabling is not only essential in data centres. Of course, test labs must be equipped for the future as well and be scalable and expandable accordingly. Moreover, they usually place very special demands on the cabling infrastructure. In addition to the very high quality of the components used, flexibility, modularity and packing density are crucial. These aspects also played a key role in the new cabling of the Swisscom laboratory in Bern. For this reason, the Swiss Arimax Distribution AG, together with the ICT and network infrastructure service provider Cablex, implemented the innovative tML24 system from the network specialist tde - trans data elektronik GmbH in the Swisscom laboratory. The result: transmission speeds of up to currently 400GbE with high scalability and an enormous space saving.
Mobile and fibre infrastructure, new end devices or software components - before they go live or go online, test labs have to test the functionality and compatibility of technologies or products. Test labs also help to track faults and thus assist in finding solutions quickly.
As a leading telecommunications company and one of the leading IT companies in Switzerland, Swisscom AG operates a large number of different test laboratories. They ensure that companies and customers in Switzerland can always rely on Swisscom products and services working smoothly. One of these laboratories is the Swisscom broadband test laboratory in Bern. As the needs of its customers always come first for Swisscom, the persons responsible decided in 2019 to completely renew the laboratory and the associated areas and thus adapt them to the new laboratory standard. "Our goal was to build a flexible cabling system that would also be future-proof and enable easy migration to higher transmission rates at any time," says Roger Bartlome, DevOps Engineer/Lead Infrastructure at Swisscom, outlining the requirements. At the same time, the new cabling had to take into account the cramped space situation and provide sufficient room for reserves. For this demanding project, Swisscom involved selected specialists from the very beginning: With the Swiss special distributor Arimax Distribution AG, the telecommunications company had already had an expert at its side since 2006, who offers support in the area of out-of-band management and as a reliable supplier for active components as well as various company divisions and advises it with comprehensive know-how. Danny Stelter, Area Sales Manager at Arimax, also provided the crucial impetus for the new cabling: in mid-December 2019, he introduced Swisscom with the tML24 system from Dortmund-based network specialist tde - trans data elektronik GmbH for the first time.
tML-24: Enormous packing density, reduced cable volume, simple migration options
The foundation of the innovative tML24 cabling system is the MPO 24-fibre connector based on multi-fibre technology (MPO): the very compact connector accommodates two rows of twelve fibres each, offering even more compact performance in the smallest space. By equipping trunk cables and modules of its patented, modular tML cabling system with the 24-fibre MPO, tde has based the entire rear cabling on the connector. The tML carrier system consists of the three core components module, trunk cable and module mount enclosure. The MPO/MTP and Telco connectors on the rear form the heart of the system: at least six or twelve ports can be connected through them all at once. Depending on the module configuration, the tML24 system opens up transmission rates from 10G to currently 400G. Since 96 MPO ports can be realised on one height unit, up to 2304 fibres are possible on one height unit when the tML24 system is fully equipped, without problems with loss budgets. All system components are 100 per cent manufactured by tde at its production site in Bippen/Ohrte, Germany, where the network expert also pre-assembles and tests them. This gives the cabling system a decisive advantage: the tML system components can be installed in the Swisscom laboratory within a very short time thanks to plug-and-play functionality.
Just one week after Danny Stelter presented the tML24 system at Swisscom, Arimax delivered a test setup to Swisscom's test lab in Bern and, in close coordination with Roger Bartlome, put the test setup of the tML-24 system into operation. Fibre optic and TP modules were used: They can be mixed together in a tML module carrier with very high port density. Six weeks later, Arimax collected the test setup again and discussed the requirements of the Swisscom laboratory.
tML24 is convincing
At the Swisscom test lab in particular, changes, relocations or other challenges such as limited space are the order of the day. This makes it all the more important to have highly flexible and modular network cabling, where the network technicians can make changes at any time and, for example, replace individual components, convert and remove the system, carry out rewiring, reuse the same components or quickly dismantle parts of the system. "The modular design of the tML system convinced us immediately, as we can make adjustments cost-effectively and at any time. This enables us to react more quickly to the high demands of the various projects," explains Roger Bartlome and continues: "Of course, the high quality of the tde solution also played a decisive role: it is a basic prerequisite for all products and services that we offer to our customers at Swisscom. Which means, it is also essential in the laboratory!"
Added value: flexible, modular, future-proof
The still ongoing restructuring of the Swisscom test lab is divided into two construction phases, the first of which was completed in the second quarter of 2020. For the installation, Swisscom relied on its fully owned subsidiary Cablex: the company specialises in the construction, maintenance and operation of high-performance ICT and network infrastructure solutions as well as the planning and implementation of trendsetting smart infrastructure projects. As Swisscom wanted to benefit from the 25-year system guarantee that tde gives on its tML cabling platform, Arimax trained Cablex employees via an online training and certified the infrastructure provider. "Right from the start, the Cablex employees were convinced by the tML24 solution and especially by the future-oriented MPO technology and immediately recognised the added value of the tML solution," recalls Danny Stelter,Arimax Distribution AG.
"The tML24 system is very flexible and versatile as well as modular. As a project manager with 20 years of experience in this field, I know about the specific requirements that the Swisscom laboratory managers place on the cabling infrastructure," knows Felix Dolder, Project Manager Construction I at Cablex AG, and continues: "The tde solution is the right answer to the needs of the Swisscom laboratory."
The tML24 system scores not only in regards to scalability. Compared to the previous installation, the tde cabling solution offers the highest packing density in the industry and thus saves a great deal of space: Arimax was able to reduce the required space in the copper area by using 48 ports on only one height unit instead of 30 ports on three height units. Arimax also realised a similarly compact design for the fibre optic area. Here again, the added value of the tML24 system is clearly evident. With its packing efficiency, the tde system makes optimal use of the available space and thus also contributes to more energy efficiency in the test lab. In addition, since the system leaves sufficient reserves for migration to higher transmission rates, Swisscom benefits from investment and future security. Another advantage is the fact that tde delivers its MPO connectors pre-assembled and ready for connection. This means that there is no need to splice the fibres on site and the laboratory staff can carry out rewiring and test setups quickly and cost-effectively. The plug-and-play functionality of the tML24 system also proves advantageous here: Cablex staff can connect 24 fibres at once. The results are significantly shorter installation and connection times, lower cable volumes, optimal utilisation of the space in the test lab and better scalability. With the tML24 system, Swisscom has transmission possibilities of currently up to 400G by simply exchanging the modules.
Arimax delivered all tde network components in a very short time. This allows Swisscom to react to specific laboratory requirements at short notice. After the Cablex employees had installed the tML24 system in the Swisscom laboratory, Rainer Behr, Sales Consultant, André Dierkes, Installation Manager and Marius Mammen, Technical Manager at tde took the installation on site. However, as the demands on the Swisscom laboratory continued to grow, the material reserves ordered were already used up after just under four weeks and were replaced by additional orders. Swisscom will also rely on the tde solution again for the expansion of the laboratory conversion.
Ready for the future
After completing the installation at the Swisscom test lab, the feedback was consistently positive. The new network components fully meet Swisscom's high requirements and standards. Thanks to the highly scalable tML24 solution, the telecommunications company can easily keep pace with increasing requirements and react flexibly to changes and specific project needs.
About tde – trans data elektronik GmbH
For more than 25 years the tde - trans data elektronik GmbH, an internationally successful company, has specialised in the development and production of scalable cabling systems for highest packing density. The nuclear research centre CERN relies on the know-how of the leading company in multi-fibre technics (MPO) as well. The company’s portfolio "Made in Germany" contains complete system solutions with a focus on Plug-and-play for highspeed applications in the field of datacom, telecom, industry, medical and defence. tde offers both planning and installation services through its own service department and supports the "European Code of Conduct" when it comes to energy efficiency in data centres. For more information, visit www.tde.de as well as LinkedIn and Twitter.
tde - trans data elektronik GmbH, Sales office Dortmund,
André Engel, Prinz-Friedrich-Karl-Str. 46, 44135 Dortmund,
Tel. +49 231 160480, Fax +49 231 160933, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tde.de
epr - elsaesser public relations, Maximilianstraße 50, D-86150 Augsburg, Germany
Frauke Schütz, Tel: +49 821 45087916, email@example.com
Sabine Hensold, Tel: +49 821 45087917, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.epr-online.de
About Arimax Distribution AG
Arimax was founded in Sihlbrugg in 1993 under the name Arimax Distribution AG. Today's Arimax Distribution AG, based in Zurich, is a Premier Partner and Value-Add Reseller of IT infrastructure solutions from Daxten, Avocent, Koldlok, NetBotz, PlenaFill, PlenaForm and Starline for the entire Swiss market. Arimax is one of the leading Swiss providers of data centre solutions. The distributor specialises in products and services in the areas of monitoring, optimisation and management of critical IT and data centre infrastructure. Arimax's goal is to make the work of IT administrators and facility managers easier, to spare companies critical downtime and to constantly increase the efficiency of IT in terms of cooling and energy consumption.
Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecoms company and one of its leading IT companies, is headquartered in Ittigen, close to the capital city Berne. Outside Switzerland, Swisscom has a presence on the Italian market in the guise of Fastweb. In 2020 over 19,000 employees generated sales of CHF 11,100 million. It is 51% Confederation-owned and is one of Switzerland’s most sustainable and innovative companies.
Cablex builds and maintains high-performance ICT and network infrastructure solutions at competitive prices to meet current and future market needs.